I teased in a reply to my burger post that I would be doing NY Steak tonight. I did too! The equally fabulous side dish ends up SORT OF getting the headline though. For those who don’t know, I *love* Tex-Mex cooking. Three peppers in particular are my absolute favorites; Chipotle, Tomatillo and Hatch.
Hatch chilis are green chilis grown around the Hatch, New Mexico area. They can get as hot as Jalapenos, but typically are fairly mild. Great for when you have somebody who doesn’t like hot food, but can appreciate savory, OR you want to add some flavor to an otherwise delicate food.
Trying to tell Hatch that they’re not the chili capital is like trying to tell a Texan they didn’t invent BBQ by the way. LOL. More on the side dish in a minute. First lets take a look at that slow cooked New York Steak:
Slow smoked for almost 2 hours at 185 degrees (85 Celsius). You can see that delicious Hickory and Mesquite smoke ring in the first picture. Topped off with a little Sucklebusters 1836 seasoning rubbed in before cooking, and it’s nearly perfection.
Not an affiliate link BTW, just one of the companies I trust to do right by people and make a killer product. All their rubs and seasonings are good.
The show stealer turned out to be the baby Yukon Gold potatoes with hatch pepper seasoning though. Just something I found at Kroger. Fabulous flavor, and something I’ll try again. 🙂 Next time, I’ll try to do the Hatch seasoning myself and will hopefully have a recipe for you all.
Oh, and did I forget the Chocolate Sea Salt Caramel Mousse for dessert? 😀
My latest kitchen adventure involved slow smoking a tomahawk cut two pound Ribeye steak, and some homemade (not quite) Macaroni and Cheese. OK, so first the side dish.
I say not quite Mac because every pasta shape has a different name. The store was cleaned out of the usual mini sea shell shaped pasta I like (it does a great job of holding cheese), and most of what was left in-stock was known to be poor quality brands. I ended up settling on Orecchiette. Close enough, I figured.
Add in some diced panchetta and ton of cheese and we had the start of something good:
I know, odd combination of cheeses, but it worked… Other than how oily the cheddar was. After the cheese was melted and the pasta cooked, into the pan it went with some panko bread crumbs on top. Cook till the Panko is golden brown and we had a delicious side dish:
And then there was the giant, man-eating steak, slow smoked for two and a half hours:
Normally, I’d have pulled it off the smoker at 100 degrees internal temperature and then dropped it on the charcoal grill just long enough to get a nice sear and reach a perfect medium rare internal temp of 135. No charcoal grills allowed at the apartments though.
We divided the steak in two and each had half, since it was a steak-asaurus.
And that was Labor Day dinner here at Chateau de Silk.
Oh yes… The baked potato. A standard gourmet preparation there. After washing the potato, pat it dry, then rub olive oil into it and douse with salt, pepper and garlic. Baked unwrapped. You’ll get an amazingly tasty crisp skin. on the tater.
A belated ‘Meals Monday’ Post and it’s going to be a two for one! First there’s the brisket sandwiches.
OK, the plating isn’t as pretty as my usual pics, but I was in a hurry to eat. 😀 Can you blame me with the smoke ring showing on that overhanging meat?
So how does one create the prefect brisket sandwich? Fresh smoked brisket on a warm hot cross pretzel roll, add a tiny pit of mayo to the bottom and a little BBQ sauce on top of the meat; just enough to add a little flavor and moisture. Then top with smoked gouda cheese. 🙂
Fun story here also. That is not MY brisket. We finally found a good BBQ place here. You wouldn’t think it would be that hard in Tennessee, but that’s a story for another time.
So we’re out driving along, running errands and we stop at a traffic light right next to this old gas station. Windows are up, and we still smell something heavenly. It was coming from the gas station, which had been converted into a little restaurant tailor made for Diners Drive-Ins and Dives. We just had to whip in there and check it out.
We’ve actually tried three different restaurants recommended on Triple D, and this was quite a bit better. The guy had two stick burners (some BBQ lingo for y’all) out back and was cranking out some amazing ribs, brisket, pulled pork, chicken and sausage. Well, the brisket was so good we bought an extra pound to take home. Hence the Sandwiches. 🙂
What Makes Great BBQ?
Opinions vary there, but I’m going to give you a couple of competition judging standards. No, I’m not a competitor, but I’ve networked with several and a judge or two also. Personally, I’ve found the closer I get to these guidelines, the better the meat tastes too, so there you go.
A Smoke Ring:
It doesn’t matter what you’re cooking; ribs, brisket, chicken even turkey (which isn’t normally a competition item), you have to have a good smoke ring on the meat. This is the indication that the wood fire flavor has permeated the meat.
That red ring around the outside of the meat is the smoke ring. If you want to learn the science of what creates a smoke ring, there’s a great article at BarbequeBible.com. For everyone else, I’m just going to continue.
Bark, quite simply, is a combination of a modest surface char AND surface seasonings darkening during cooking. A good bark will be on the crispy side and add texture to the meat. Getting a good bark is tricky, and all but impossible with a pellet smoker like I use. Sugar as part of the rub is a common way to get a “good” bark, as it readily darkens and hardens with the heat of the BBQ. NOT something I personally advocate.
Rather obvious here, but you want any meat to be moist and tender. Not too dry.
I’m not sure what they proper judging term here is, but the idea is that the meat should stay together, not just fall apart. If ribs or brisket just fall apart, it means they were overcooked. Too tough: not cooked enough.
Perfect competition standard is that the meat should come apart with a light tug.
For ribs, that means the meat stays on the bone until bitten, or gently pulled upon. Then it should be tender when chewed.
Brisket has a bit more ornate standard, but Texans take their brisket seriously, LOL.
A slice of brisket should stay together if draped over a finger or held by two fingers at one end of the slice. If it can do that and is still tender to eat, you got a good one.
Similar ideas hold true with chicken or pulled pork. Chicken should stay on the bone, but come free easily when pulled, and pork shoulder roast should stay together until it’s pulled apart (hence the name pulled pork).
Another obvious one, but it merits a note. Ideally when smoking meat, you should be able to taste the smoke flavor, not just see the smoke ring. Some BBQ places use oak for example. Fairly common wood and easy to get ahold of. BUT it leaves very little flavor in the meat compared to something like hickory, mesquite or maple.
Maple is considered ideal for pork, as it adds a sweet smoky flavor to the meat.
There you have it though; a basic guideline to determine if you’re really getting top notch BBQ, or you’re missing out. 😉
Nope, not a misspelling of steak. It’s time for my also promised nearly 3 pound (1.3 kg) tomahawk cut ribeye steak cook. 😀
As the picture hints at, the cut got it’s name from the bone being left in and the size of the cut. It bears a passing similarity to tomahawk.
As usual, it was salt, pepper and garlic for the seasoning, and then onto the smoker:
Notice I did go lighter than with the ribs yesterday also. A good steak should be seasoned lightly to let it’s own flavor shine through. Those ribs were a bit over seasoned also to be honest.
Since a good steak should also have a nice sear or grill marks on it also, I do something fairly unique here. Pellet grills and other smokers almost never put good grill marks on meat. So what I do id cook the meat to an internal temperature of about 95 degrees (35 degrees C).
Cooked slow and low, by the time it reaches that internal temperature, the meat has a nice,moderate level of smoke flavor. From there, it goes onto the Weber charcoal grill.
One thing I should mention here… If you’re going to BBQ with charcoal on a kettle like this… You ideally want the charcoal on two sides and a clear space in the middle where you can place your food. This prevents flare ups of the fire and the food getting burnt or cooked unevenly. I got in a hurry here and was sloppy with the charcoal.
Getting back to the actual cook, it stays there long enough to get to a nice 135 degree (57 degrees C) internal temperature. That’s just long enough to get it a perfect medium rare and put a nice surface sear on it for extra flavor:
This particular steak is a good example of learning to trust your instincts also. My thermometer lied and said it was still raw. When I pulled it though, here’s what we got:
That’s right on the high side of “medium” in terms of how cooked it is, which means it had an internal temperature of 140 to 145 degrees (62 degrees C). Still very edible, but not quite as tender as it could have been.
Cultivating that instinct takes work. You have to regularly make a mental note of how long items cook each time you do them, and their appearance as well.
Here’s a finished dinner plate, with the green beans and bacon now mixed with the Marsala sauteed mushrooms, some biscuits, and the raspberry yogurt fruit salad from Friday.
I have just enough time for one more post before I really need to kick real life into high gear today. We’re having family over for a BBQ today and I’m making spare ribs among other things. Ribs alone will be a 6 hour slow smoke adventure.
There will be food pictures within the next 24 hours. 😀 How soon depends upon how well my energy holds up after cleaning, cooking and eating.
We also found a beautiful USDA Prime grade 3 pound Tomahawk cut ribeye steak (on sale) that we will be cooking up in the next few days, most likely Monday. Stay tuned for that as well. 😉
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